President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Sept. 3 his decision to dismiss Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, adding the motion will be put to the vote in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, in the coming week.
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According to Zelensky, Reznikov is set to be replaced by 41-year-old Rustem Umerov, the chairperson of the State Property Fund of Ukraine.
“I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction both with the military and with society as a whole,” Zelensky said in his evening address.
Umerov, a Ukrainian politician and businessperson of Crimean Tatar origin, previously served as a member of parliament in the Holos party from 2019-2022.
Reznikov has held the post of Defense Minister since November 2021. Since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he has played a vital role in coordinating military aid from foreign allies, including at multiple Ramstein summits.
However, Reznikov's tenure at the Defense Ministry has been marred by several scandals related to the procurement of equipment and supplies for Ukrainian soldiers.
In August, Ukrainian media Dzerkalo Tyzhnia reported that the Defense Ministry spent $33 million on "winter" clothing for the military from a Turkish company in September, which was actually summer clothing.
The Defense Ministry and Reznikov also faced scrutiny in January when Ukrainian media discovered a major issue with food supply procurement for soldiers.
The ministry was found to have purchased eggs at Hr 17 ($0.5) each, while in Kyiv’s grocery stores, the price is around Hr 7 ($0.2) per egg, according to the Nashi Groshi investigative project.
Following that scandal, Ukrainian media reported in February that Zelensky had decided to dismiss Reznikov and would likely replace him with military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov.
On Feb. 15, Reznikov said that Zelensky had decided to keep him on, citing Reznikov's personal relationships with Ukraine's defense partners as one of the main reasons.